Editor's note: the following is taken from three reports from Ken Abrahams about the building and launch of his PDRacer: Ugly Duckling. For more info about PDRacers, go to http://www.pdracer.com

#1 - Well, here it is today. Essentally built, finishing remains. Finishing will be after I try it in the water. I used the last squirt of epoxy today, more is on the way. I used a strip of 4'' x 1/4'' plywood on the inside bottom. Helped a lot. I'll know if I need more after I try it out. Maybe this weekend. I also put a small skeg on the rear with a hole in it. It will help keep it straight when rowing and provide a tie point when trailering.

Ken Abrahams, PD Racer no. 2, 'Ugly Duckling'

#2 - Puddle Duck Racer no. 2 (Ugly Duckling) was launched today for the first time. It is a success! This group of pictures show the Optimist International Pram sail. It is around 38 sq. ft. (about 1/2 of a Sunfish sail of 75 sq. ft.) The winds today were light, 5 to 8 maybe, and it moved along fine. It tacks and goes into the wind ok. The boat is very stable, I can sit on the rail ok, didn't need to today. (I weigh 185 lbs) The bottom flex is ok but I think I will add two rub strips on the outside botom for protection when dragging the boat on and off the trailer and for a little more stiffness. I used a Sunfish plastic board. One problem I have is the rudder, works fine but it is not kick up. I'll correct that problem though. My wife assisted me today and took pictures. She suggests another name 'Love Barge', your remember 'Love Boat'? I think I'll stay with Ugly Duckling. One of the club members came by and thought it was tiny and 'cute'.

The masts are 2-1/4 inch od. The standard Sunfish size. My Opti mast just happens to be the same dimension (octagional). The mast partner is a 1 x 6 treated pine board 12'' back from the bow. The step is a 2 x 4 drilled out, also treated wood. The board position is about the same position behind the mast as the Sunfish and the Uncle John 10. By all means use a dagger board. The trunk is simple to install with epoxy putty. I used lee boards on my Bolger Pirate Racer and hated them. They were not rigidly attached and one was required on each side. Vertical, rigidly attached, board on one side is fine. I like everything in the middle though.

I have sailed a Sunfish for many years and the Lateen rig works well. Easy to use and simple. No need to change sides of the mast. What you loose is very small. Junk rig; I never sailed one but I built one for a guy. Do you realize you need a sheet to every batten? Too much trouble for me. The little sprit rig of the Opti seems to work well. Several hundred thousands out there in use (Optimist is the worlds largest class). I have a boomless sprit on my Uncle John 10 and it works fine but for racing I'll go with a boomed sail.

Ken Abrahams

Here is the last set. The Sunfish rig looks oversized but worked ok in todays light wind. The boat felt stable enough to carry the sail in a lot more breeze. I may come up with a sail in between the SF and Opti say 60 sq. ft. I'll do a lot more sailing first though.

The pictures were taken at Lake Charles Yacht Club, which I am a member of since the mid 70's. A great place for small boat sailing. The background shows part of the deepwater Port of Lake Charles and the Isle of Capri River Boats and Hotels. Kind of attractive from this view. We are about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and the Texas state line.

Any questions, just ask. I'm ready for the February kick off race. Arrrgggggg! Also races for Contraband Regata in May and August Messabout race. Any suggestions for finishing the boat??????

Ken Abrahams